In the past, football was played for fun but now it is a venture on its own and without huge financial injection it will be difficult for a football club to win laurels.
The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, etc have all won laurels because of the kind of money the owners have invested.
When a football club wins a trophy the coaches and players are hailed but forgetting the bank-roller of the club.
Briefly.co.za has gathered names of the rich men behind the top 5 football clubs in the world currently.
1. Glazer family (Manchester United)
Manchester United went public in 1990 and was the subject of takeover bids from property trader Michael Knighton and Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB corporation before Malcolm Glazer's stake was announced in September 2003.
By the end of 2003, Glazer had increased his shareholding from 3.17% to around 15%, which he almost doubled in the year up to October 2004. His acquisition of John Magnier and J. P. McManus's 28.7% stake in May 2005 pushed his own up to around 57%, well over the 30% threshold that would force him to launch a takeover bid.
A few days later, he took control of 75% of the club's shares, allowing him to delist the company from the stock exchange, and within a month, the Glazers took 98% ownership of the club via their Red Football parent company, forcing a squeeze out of the remaining 2%. The final purchase price of the club totalled almost £800 million.
Most of the capital used by Glazer to purchase Manchester United came in the form of loans, the majority of which were secured against the club's assets, incurring interest payments of over £60 million per annum.
2. Florentino Perez (Real Madrid)
He is currently the president of the greatest football club in the world. He first took over as president in 2000, beating the current chairman at that time, Lorenzo Sanz. Sanz assumed that the recently won European Cups in 1998 and 2000 would give him enough credit to win the elections, but Pérez's campaign, once again highlighting the financial problems of the club and claims of mismanagement by the previous boards, proved otherwise. Pérez's promise to bring in Luís Figo from arch-rivals Barcelona also played a decisive role in the elections. Pérez was reelected in 2004 with 94.2% of the total votes.
Perez was behind the Galaticos that took world football by storm.
3. Josep Mario Bartomeu (Barcelona)
He is a Spanish entrepreneur and the current president of FC Barcelona. He started in the latter role in 2014, following the resignation of Sandro Rosell.
Partner and CEO of the companies ADELTE and EFS, Bartomeu served on the board of FC Barcelona during Joan Laporta's presidency (as head of the basketball section) along with Sandro Rosell, who resigned due to differences with the then president.
He then served as Rosell's vice-president of Barcelona from July 2010 to January 2014 after they won the election with 61.35% of the vote of the members of the club. Following the resignation of Sandro Rosell on 23 January 2014, due to the so-called "Neymar case," Bartomeu was, following the club's constitution, elected, as the fortieth President of Barcelona, to complete Rosell's term.
Bartomeu is being investigated in a case of alleged tax fraud over the signing of striker Neymar along with former president Sandro Rosell. He is set to stand trial after his appeal was rejected.
4. Ulrich Hoeneß (Bayern Munich)
He is is the president of German football club Bayern Munich and a retired footballer for West Germany who played as a forward for club and country. Hoeneß represented Germany at one World Cup and two European Championships, winning one tournament in each competition.
During his playing career, he was mainly associated with Bayern Munich, with whom he won three league championship titles and three European Cup titles.
He later served as the club's general manager. In 2014 he pleaded guilty to tax evasion, ultimately serving 18 months in prison for the offence.
5. Fenway Sports Group (Liverpool).
Fenway Sports Group (FSG) is an American sports company owned by John .W. Henry.
Having previously partnered with the English soccer club Fulham F.C., on October 6, 2010, FSG agreed to buy Liverpool F.C from owners George N. Gillett, Jr. and Tom Hicks, after the board voted 3-2 to oust them from the club.
It purchased through subsidiary, "N.E.S.V. I, LLC" (incorporated in Delaware) and UK based holding company "UKSV Holdings Company Limited".
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